Anubis Gate

Pyramaze – Epitaph Review

Pyramaze – Epitaph Review

“There was a time when Pyramaze threatened to become my favorite prog-metal band. With their Melancholy Beast debut highly impressing, and follow up Legend of the Bone Carver completely blowing me away, I was very much on the Pyramaze war wagon and looking forward to more flawless victories. Sadly, vocalist Lance King departed, and third album Immortal was a step down despite heroic vocal efforts by Matt Barlow. Seven years went by before we got the next album, this one featuring the unknown Terje Harøy on the mic. Disciples of the Sun was a big comeback for Pyramaze, showcasing a new direction and an abundance of impossibly catchy songs. Two years later however, the band took another downturn on Contingent by trying to create a bigger-than-life concept album with a movie soundtrack sheen that ended up feeling more pretentious than interesting. This brings us to their sixth outing, Epitaph.” Grave new world.

Ivory Tower – Stronger Review

Ivory Tower – Stronger Review

“I stumbled across Beyond the Stars, the sophomore outing by unsung German prog metallers, Ivory Tower. Though they weren’t doing anything Dream Theater hadn’t done 500 times bigger and with more drum solos, there was something oddly endearing and earnest about the band’s material. I never saw or heard about another release from them until Stronger bobbed up in the promo bin unexpectedly. I doubted it was even the same band, but it is indeed.” Swole spire.

Lance King – ReProgram Review

Lance King – ReProgram Review

“Lance King, the former vocalist of Balance of Power and Pyramaze and pride of prog-metal lovers everywhere, has been too quiet for too long. Running Nightmare Records seems to keep him plenty busy, as his last solo outing was 2011s A Moment in Chiros, but 2019 finally sees the man flexing his golden pipes once again on ReProgram. Backed by a large supporting cast of musicians from acts like Pyramaze, Anubis Gate, and Darkwater, Lance’s second solo outing tracks the kind of highly melodic prog-power style he’s known for, while exploring concepts of self-identity, belief systems and the influences that shape our thinking.” Hail to the King.

Anubis Gate – Covered in Black Review

Anubis Gate – Covered in Black Review

“When it comes to prog-power, Anubis Gate has been the first name in my Rolodex ever since 2005s A Perfect Forever found its way to my iron ears. Later albums like Andromeda Unchained and The Detached essentially wrote the book on how progressive power metal should sound, and I have an unhealthy fixation on both those slick platters of melodic metal. After hearing rumors the new album would be a departure for the band, I had a nagging feeling that a great love affair might be headed for the rocks. After a 3 year wait, Covered in Black does indeed find the band in a different place musically and mentally.” Storm at the gate.

Kobra and the Lotus – Prevail I Review

Kobra and the Lotus – Prevail I Review

Kobra and the Lotus is a Canadian melodic power band that first came onto my radar in 2012 with their self-titled debut. Fronted by the actually-legally-named Kobra Paige, the band’s third LP, Prevail I, is on Napalm Records, after releasing the debut on Spinefarm, and 2014’s High Priestess on Titan Music. Prevail I is, apparently, the first of two albums which will be released in quick succession, and it’s being marketed as produced by the guy who produced Amaranthe‘s records, with a debut single squarely marketed at people who like Delain. Since the band’s debut was a solid power metal album, this strategy raises a question for me: three full-lengths (and three labels) into this whole experiment of being named Kobra, how’s the whole thing going?” That’s a very personal question.

Voyager – Ghost Mile Review

Voyager – Ghost Mile Review

“In the realm of intelligent prog-metal, Voyager has been one of my favorites since 2009s I Am the Revolution. Their ability to blend traditional metal ideas with extraneous elements from death, power and djent always impressed me, but their ear for catchy, tight writing really made them stand out. Nowhere was this more apparent than on 2011s The Meaning of I, which earned a very rare 5.0 rating from yours truly. I still spin that album regularly and marvel at how diverse and addicting it remains 6 years later. I was somewhat let down by followup V, but it was still a solid album in its own right with some remarkable songs. I hoped the band would rebound and release another classic platter of thoughtfully oddball material.” Miles of creativity.

Pyramaze – Contingent Review

Pyramaze – Contingent Review

Pyramaze has made a career out of defying expectations and being impossible to anticipate. With constantly shifting styles and revolving door vocalists, each new album promises something totally different. Enigmas that they are, it still seemed they’d found a near-perfect sound and a killer front man on 2015s excellent Disciples of the Sun, and since it was such a compelling, addicting album, I hoped they would tinker sparingly with their approach when it came time for a sequel. Alas, it was clear early on the band wanted to take what they did on Disciples and expand on it ten-fold for Contingent, going for a kind of post-apocalyptic conceptual piece with cinematic soundtrack elements and a greater symphonic presence.” Every contingent has a contingency fee.

Need – Hegaiamas​: ​A Song for Freedom Review

Need – Hegaiamas​: ​A Song for Freedom Review

“Every genre has its tropes. Power metal’s unhealthy obsession with dragons and unicorns, for example. Thrashers shower but twice a year. Did you know that most black metal musicians are allergic to both colors and happiness? All true facts! Progressive metal is no exception.” Unicorns are the new white meat.

Theocracy – Ghost Ship Review

Theocracy – Ghost Ship Review

“Though I’ll admit to having steered clear of “Christian metal” over the years due to some silly, small-minded prejudices, there have been exceptions that slowly opened my eyes. Trouble began life as a “white metal” act and I still loved them intensely, and little known Barren Cross caught me in a weirdly inescapable web of hooks with their Atomic Arena album back in 88. Much more recently I was completely blown away by Theocracy‘s 2011 opus As the World Bleeds, which mixed bombastic power with prog and classic metal in a way that suited me down to my nonspiritual bones.” It’s high time to get some religion!

VOLA – Inmazes [Things You Might Have Missed 2015]

VOLA – Inmazes [Things You Might Have Missed 2015]

VOLA are highly unusual in their approach to modern progressive metal. The most apt description I can define is prog-power by way of djent, offering the catchy melodies of Anubis Gate and Voyager but executed with the staccato, modern heaviness of a post-Meshuggah era.” Some things just sell themselves.